Puppy biting and mouthing are completely normal behaviors, this is how they
play and interact. When your puppy was with his/her litter mates, they spent most of their waking hours’ play
biting each other, so now that they have no other dogs to play bite with we must give them suitable things to bite on.
Managing and preventing your puppy from play biting and nipping you will help ensure that they don’t turn this into an adult dog habit.
This will take 3-4 weeks of consistent training and managing.
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Tools needed to help you teach your pup that play biting is not okay on human skin
These six toys will be put away and only taken out on the occasion of puppy biting.
Three ways to stop or curb puppy biting.
#1 Stop puppy biting by teaching your puppy bite inhibition.
Bite inhibition means training the puppy to use a soft mouth. This should be taught before 18 months, the mom and
litter mates started the teaching and the human has to finish it.
If your dog has a well-established bite inhibition they may lunge and snap at another
dog or person but it is unlikely that they will break the skin.
How to teach bite inhibition:
You need to say “ouch” or “no” in a stern tone of voice
with a semi-loud volume. You need to experiment with your pup to find out how
that tone and volume should sound.
Don’t make any high pitched sounds like “ouch” that can stimulate your puppy, even more,
to want to go after you. Your puppy should immediately
stop biting you for 1-3 seconds, at this point you can click the clicker and give them a treat
and then calmly get up and give your pup one of the six toys that you have put away
for this occasion. If your pup gets bored with one of the toys then take it away
and move onto the next one.
You definitely don’t want to scare your puppy, you just want to startle them into realizing
that humans can’t be bitten as hard as litter mates.
#2 Manage Puppy Biting
I’ll list a few scenarios and what to do for each one,
feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
-If the puppy is biting at your hands as you are trying to leash them, then you should put
about 6 VERY SMALL pieces of food on the floor to keep them busy as you leash fasten the leash.
-If your puppy is biting at you as you are walking then ask the little one to
sit and give them a treat. This is to distract them and get them out of the moment.
If this doesn’t work, calmly pick your puppy up and walk around then put them down,
hand them one of the 6 favorite toys.
-If your puppy is still going after you and you do not have time to play with them then gently
pick them up place them in the pen or crate and hand the puppy one of the six special toys.
#3 Stop Puppy Biting by Teaching “Take” and “Off” Using the Clicker
Scientific studies from dog training schools that have tried both a verbal marker and the clicker, suggest that dogs and their owners learn about 50% more rapidly when the marker is a click instead of the word “yes.”
How to teach “take” and “off”
During meal times, feed the puppy 5-10 pieces of his kibble alternating between “take” and “off”.
First say the word “take” as soon as he/she goes to take it, click and then treat.
Say the word “off”, let the puppy mouth around at your hand, as soon as he/she moves their nose
off of your hand, click and treat. Don’t say “off” in a harsh voice. Try to keep it friendly and happy.
“Take” can also be used to hand your puppy toys, balls, or anything that you want them to
pick up. This is how service dogs learn to pick things up for their owners. Once she/he knows it well for the kibble then try to move onto the toys.
“Off” can also be used if puppy biting is happening at your feet. After your pup masters off with the hands, then move onto teaching it at the feet.
Puppies will usually outgrow this playful biting and nipping stage. These three methods will make sure that the normal habit of puppy biting does not turn into an adult dog problem.